Mahabharata – Vana Parva – Kirata Parva – 38-41
Kairata Parva – 38
The colloquy between the Rishis and Shiva
1Janamejaya said: O exalted one, I desire to hear in detail the account of the acquisition of weapons by Partha (Arjuna) of spotless deeds.
2How did that foremost of men, the mighty- armed and the greatly energetic Dhananjaya enter that solitary forest without having felt (any) fear?
3O foremost of all men, learned in the Vedas, what did he do when he lived there? O exalted one, how did he gratify Sthanu (Shiva) and the chief of the celestials (Indra)?
4O best of the twice-born, I desire to hear all this through your favour. O omniscient one, you are acquainted with everything regarding men and gods.
5-7O Brahmana, the battle that was formerly fought between that best of smiters, who had never been defeated in war and Bhava (Shiva) was without a parallel and was extraordinary and was also hair-stirring. Having heaard which the hearts of those foremost of men, the sons of Pritha, trembled in wonder and joy, thinking of their own inferiority. Tell me what other acts Partha (Arjuna), performed.
8I do not find the most trivial thing in Jishnu (Arjuna) which might be called censurable. (Therefore) narrate the history of that hero to me.
9Vaishampayana said: O foremost of the Kurus, O child, I shall narrate to you the excellent, the extensive and greatly unrivalled history of that illustrious hero.
10O sinless, one, hear in detail the account of Partha’s meting with the three-eyed, god of gods and his contact with his body.
11-13At the command of Yudhishthira that immeasurably powerful hero set out to meet the chief of the celestials, Shakra and the god of gods, Shankara (Shiva). Taking up the excellent bow and the sword with the golden hit, in order to accomplish his purpose, the greatly powerful and the mighty-armed Arjuna. That descendant of Kuru, set out northward towards the summit of the Himalayas. O king, that son of Indra (Arjuna) of calm mind, that greatest car-warrior of all the world.
14Firmly adhering to his purpose, soon engaged himself in austere asceticism. He entered that fearful and thorny forest alone.
15It abounded in various flowers and fruits, it was inhabited by birds of various species, it was full of various animals and it was frequented by the Siddhas and Charanas.
16When the son of Kunti, Arjuna, entered that forest, which was destitute of human beings, conchs and drums from heaven were sounded.
17Great showers of flowers fell on the earth; and the clouds spreading out covered every place with a shade. Passing the forest-paths at the foot of the great mountain Arjuna shone in his own effulgence by dwelling on the breast of the Himalayas.
18He saw there many trees blooming in green verdure and resounding with the sweet notes of the birds, abounding in great rivers with great eddies and currents of the color of Vaidurya gems.
19And echoing with the sweet notes of the swans, ducks and cranes. The banks of those rivers were resounded with melodious strains of male Kokilas, of peacocks and of cranes.
21Seeing those rivers of sacred, pure and delicious water and also their charming banks, the great car-warrior Arjuna became very much delighted.
22The greatly energetic and high-minded Arjuna then engaged himself in asceticism in that charming forest.
23Clad in cloth made of grass and with deerskin and holding the Danda (stick), he ate withered leaves fallen on the ground.
24He ate fruits in the first month (of his asceticism) at the interval of three nights, in the second (month) at the interval of six nights.
25-26In the third (month) at the interval of a fortnight. When the fourth month came, that foremost of the Bharata race. That mighty- armed son of Pandu lived (simply) on air, with his arms upraised and with nothing to lean upon, standing only on the tips of his toes.
27In consequences of frequent bathing the hair of that high-souled and immeasurably energetic hero became as bright as the lightning or the lotus.
28Thereupon all the great Rishis went to the god, the wielder of trident (Shiva) and told him that the son of Pritha (Arjuna) was engaged in austere asceticism.
29-30Bowing to the great god (Shiva), they told him all about the action of Partha. (They said), “The greatly effulgent Partha is engaged in austere asceticism on the breast of the Himalayas. Heated with his asceticism the earth is sending forth smokes. O chief of gods, we do not know with what object he undergoes this asceticism.
31-32aHe causes us pain. O exalted one, you ought to stop him.” Having heard these words of those self-controlled Rishis. The husband of Uma, the lord of creatures, thus spoke.
32b-33Shiva said: You all ought not feel any anxiety on account of Falguni (Arjuna). Go away soon with cheerfulness and alacrity to the place whence you have come. I know what is the determination of his mind.
34His desire is not for heaven, not for prosperity, nor for long life. What is desired by him, will be done by me even today.
35Vaishampayana said: Having heard all this, the truthful Rishis with cheerful heart returned to their respective abodes.